DWP confusion: Saying claimants can die twice – and denying it – at the same time

[Image: Before It's News.]

[Image: Before It’s News.]

The Department for Work and Pensions has tried to provide reassurance over the accuracy of its claimant death statistics – but has succeeded only in confirming that it has muddled the figures.

Responding to the Department’s statistical releases of August 27, I told the Information Commissioner’s lawyers: “Reference to the DWP’s other statistical release of August 27 casts doubt on the veracity of the information in table 2.1 [of the response to my own Freedom of Information request], which claims to provide the total number of individuals who died while claiming IB/SDA and ESA.

“However, the figures in the statistical release entitled “Mortality statistics: Out-of-Work Working Age benefit claimants” do not make sense.

“Death figures per year for 2009-2013 are provided for the total incapacity benefits population (IB/SDA and ESA) and also separately but if the separate totals are added together, the sum is greater – every year – than the number claimed for the incapacity benefits population as a whole – by 80 in 2009, 50 in 2010, 640 in 2011, 1,880 in 2012 and 1,330 in 2013.

“Whilst I accept that combining the separate benefit populations will produce a number greater than that of the total incapacity benefit population, because claimants were being migrated across from IB/SDA to ESA, almost as soon as ESA was set up, I do not accept that any benefit claimant can die twice. They can only die once, and they would have been claiming only one benefit when they did so.

“Therefore the total number of deaths claimed in ‘Mortality Statistics: ESA, IB, and SDA’ is questionable.”

See if you can make sense of the reply:

“We can confirm that the combined figure for incapacity benefits is lower than the separate ESA and IB/SDA figures added together. This is because duplicates are removed when the figures are combined. We refer you to the footnotes to Data Table 3 in the “Mortality Statistics: Out-of-Work Working Age benefit claimants” publication, where we explained: “In the incapacity benefits group, each person is only counted once even if they claimed both IB/SDA and ESA in the same year.”

That’s right, Data Table 3 – which refers to the DWP’s claimed total for all incapacity benefits claimants. But if you add the figures in the tables that relate to ESA and IB/SDA individually, you get the discrepancies I have mentioned.

“Therefore, for the purposes of the “Mortality Statistics: Out-of-Work Working Age benefit claimants” publication, if an individual moved from IB/SDA to ESA and then died in the same year, they would be included in both the IB/SDA figures (table 4) and the ESA figures (table 5), but would only be counted once in the Incapacity Benefits table (table 3).”

That is precisely what I said – and it’s ridiculous. They could only have been on one benefit when they died. The DWP is admitting its tables are inaccurate. But wait – it gets worse:

“We can confirm that deaths are only counted once in the “Mortality Statistics: ESA, IB and SDA” publication [the response to my FoI request]. Anyone who moved from IB/SDA to ESA and then died is only included in the ESA figures, as they would have been an ESA claimant at the time of death.”

How do we know that? The statistical release does not show anything of the sort and the fact that the DWP can’t even get its facts right in a “clarification” offers no reassurance at all.

“We trust that this has clarified the matter and answered your queries.”

That has to be a sick joke.

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15 thoughts on “DWP confusion: Saying claimants can die twice – and denying it – at the same time

  1. Ros Reynolds

    Out of interest have you contacted mental health to see how their workload has increased regards attempted suicides? How many have been pushed to suicide and survived. and how is the mental health system coping with this increase in people attempting suicide?

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      I haven’t!
      I don’t even know who would be the appropriate people to contact. Do you?

      1. Phil Lee

        It would be a separate enquire for each health authority – and they are so overstretched that I doubt if they could even approximate how many people they are failing to treat.

    2. Phil Lee

      We already know that mental health services are so overstretched in most areas that they won’t even take many referrals, so any figures they gave would be vast underestimates.

  2. Florence

    Just reading your account makes the head spin! Especially that final para which actually contradicts the first part of the “explanation” regarding tables 3,4 and 5.

    All obviously as the DWP means to, of course. Your campaign to get these figures, and their actions to obstruct, tells the true story. Keep it up!

  3. Christin Bergin

    This bunch of playboys apparently planning to charge £4,000 for a FOI enquiry. Info on Micke Meaneys News e-mail RNIF. what with court charges and tribunal charges who can afford to challenge them. (shoulr we try crowdfunding for these things?)

  4. GEOFF REYNOLDS

    Having been found disabled for life, the DWP stole my benefits following an ATOS medical and i have been existing on just £33.60p per week for the last two years and three months.

    I have exhausted the appeal system to be blocked by two judges. Each judge is a former commissioner for the DWP.

    This is not justice, this is corruption on an epic scale.

    Article 6 of human rights legislation states that we are all entitled to a fair trial. The DWP are the most despicable, corrupt government department in the world.

    With regards to the DWP ignoring then telling blatant lies with mortality statistics, what do you expect of a renegade instrument of public servants that kill at will then seek to bury it?

Comments are closed.